As you may recall, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, cooking up masterpieces. I’m currently housesitting, which has provided me with another opportunity to flex my culinary muscles, and this time I was cooking for two!

By which I mean a friend. I AM NOT PREGNANT.
By which I mean a friend. I AM NOT PREGNANT.

Deciding I wanted to get a little fancy, for the main feature of the meal I resolved to use an idea I pinched from a Perth bar. This rather out-there dish consists of lamb’s rump with plum jam and Danish feta. Though a surprisingly excellent combination, they hardly constitute an entire main, so I also invented something using mushrooms, and some spinach and tomatoes got involved as well. Truly an orgy of flavour, and at times just as sticky!

Knowing that I needed the lamb to be as fresh from the pan as possible, I opted to cook the button mushrooms first. Slicing them into fairly even pieces, I chucked them into a pan with some olive oil and three cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Then, realising that some other flavour could be optimal, I grabbed the nearby bottle of Taylor’s Moscato that I’d received for Christmas and splashed some of that in as well. What a sizzle! Clever of me, too – we were drinking from the same bottle, so what better way to match the flavours?! Protip, mind you: 10 button mushrooms doesn’t get you very far. They lose a lot of moisture, so for two people to get a decent serve you’d definitely want 15 at least.

Putting those aside so I could say “Here’s some I prepared earlier,” when it came to plating up, I wiped out the pan and got the meat underway. Once it was ready (only slightly pink in the middle, but you can cook it to your own preference), saucy times had arrived. Leaving the juices from the lamb in the pan, I sought inspiration from the pantry. Years ago I learnt that jam can be fun for gravies, and so I decided to shake things up by putting in the plum jam which would otherwise have been a garnish. Realising we needed something else to expand the flavour a bit, but not having had the foresight to prepare some stock or Gravox, I found some HP Sauce and added a liberal lashing. Admittedly, the slightly acidic aroma when the sauce hit the pan made my eyes water, but before long, lamb, jam and sauce had reduced into a lovely burgundy concoction which was, astonishingly, very tasty.

At last, the time to apply food to plate, and eat, had arrived. Laying out a little bed of spinach, I dished out the mushrooms and scattered some cherry tomatoes. Adding the lamb, I drizzled the sauce over and crumbled the feta; ending up with, if I may say, two of the sexiest meals I had ever prepared. Sitting down to eat, slightly worried that somewhere, something might have gone horribly, horribly wrong, I was very pleased to receive compliments on the flavour and my kitchen skills – should have been an actor, because God knows I was just hoping for the best. Indeed, the only issue (which I was rightly told off for) was that I failed to take a picture of this opulence.

An approximation of the situation.
An approximation of the situation as there are no pictures to show of the real thing.

But Myles, I hear you ask, what kind of Renaissance man neglects dessert? Not this one, dear reader! Yep – after a little interlude which involved digestion and That 70s Show, dessert time arrived. Simplicity being the name of the game here, I smashed up a couple of McVitie’s Digestives, put them at the bottom of a couple of tumblers, and poured over the top a mixture of mascarpone, raspberries, and icing sugar. Stupidly rich but also delicious, we both struggled to finish them.

It’s certainly enjoyable, cooking for someone else. You can share the satisfaction of getting things “just so” – certainly I preferred this to my solitary Scrambled Eggs James Bond evening of years prior.

Incidentally, breakfast the following morning consisted of me realising I had brought no cereal or bread and consequently opting for a cup of tea, two TimTams, and a Digestive. Never let it be said that I’m not capable of slumming it.

A Recipe for Lamp Rump, Plum Jam, Danish Feta, and stuff, for two:

At least 15 button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Half to 3/4 of a glass white wine
4 pieces lamb rump
Large spoonful of plum jam
Lashings of HP or BBQ sauce
Large handful of baby spinach
A dozen cherry tomatoes

Follow above method with sufficient ebullience and everyone will be impressed.

Almost Cheesecakes:
250g mascarpone
Frozen raspberries
Digestive or arrowroot biscuits
2-3 tumblers, depending if you want a spare dessert for when you’re later on your own and a bit peckish

For other things I’ve written about food, click here.